Chavez: Don't Play Politics on Afghanistan

Linda Chavez
From - There are few areas in which I believe President Obama has earned high marks, but his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan last year is one I supported. Now, a new U.S. military assessment of the progress made in Afghanistan suggests that the 30,000 additional U.S. troops deployed in 2009-2010 have made a difference in southern Afghanistan, especially in Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Unfortunately, those additional troops may begin to be withdrawn next July, which could not only set back current progress but subject our remaining troops to greater danger -- simply to fulfill a political promise.

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Throughout the 2008 presidential campaign, then-candidate Barack Obama harped on the failure of the Bush administration to rout al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Iraq, he claimed, was the wrong war -- the bad war -- while Afghanistan was the good war, one that was in our national interest. I believed at the time that his intent in focusing on Afghanistan was more political than strategic. He wanted to avoid being labeled simply anti-war and weak on defense, as Americans have come to regard many Democrats over the years. But candidate Obama also needed the support of anti-war elements within his own party to win the nomination, which meant he had to promise that any commitment to Afghanistan would be short-lived. Read full column here:


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